My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Friday, January 11, 2013

SkyWatch Friday: A Wizardly Sunrise

I'm sorry to say I've only had time lately to learn a few basics about my new camera, so I'm still using its auto settings, which is what I used to take these photos of our sunrise yesterday morning. It does such a great job, I'm going to have to demonstrate some serious resolve to buckle down and learn how to take photos using manual settings! :-)

The above photos, taken with the Rebel's regular "Auto" setting, are how the sky actually looked. I took the two photos below using its "Landscape" setting, and was surprised to see the colors deepen, darken and change. Although the sky's actual colors were not quite this dramatic, I thought these were so beautiful I wanted to share them anyway...

If you think this sunrise looks a bit ominous, you'd be half right. A winter storm was predicted to hit us late last night, and when we saw this sunrise we thought it was going to arrive early. It was cold, breezy and overcast all morning, but by noon we were enjoying such bright sunshine, virtually cloudless blue skies, and warm temperatures (46ºF/8ºC) that I took our dogs on a 90 minute walk (in sneakers, without hat or gloves, and with jacket unzipped) and did a bunch of outdoor chores, eventually shedding even the jacket while growing increasingly cynical over the warnings for Winter Storm Gandolf and its prediction of 4-6" of snow, 30 mph winds, and a high today of 10ºF (-12ºC), not counting wind chills.

Well, the sky changed at dusk when we could finally see the eerie front coming, and will be experiencing blizzard conditions most of today and tonight. The Weather Channel, which recently began naming big winter storms, may not have spelled it the same but I'd say what we've got here is a Wizard Blizzard, and I think our friend Gandalf would agree! :-)

Happy Friday and Happy SkyWatching!


  1. Gorgeous sunrise! The colors are so vibrant! Again, please watch where thee stepeth when gazing skyward ;-). I guess this is a "batten down the hatches" day for you. We've had buckets of rain and warmer temps which have melted away all the beautiful snow ;-(. Stay warm!! xoxo

  2. Hey, Spuddoodly! ~ :-) Fear not, I was standing still on our patio while taking these, but on our long walk yesterday I did have to watch my steps for there were still icy bits here and there, covered in water. Slicker'n mule snot, as BW likes to say. :-)

    The weather is peculiar at the moment - the wind is blowing like stink right out of the north and it's bitterly cold out, but it stopped snowing and we have a big, blue donut hole right overhead! They're still predicting heavy snow at times today and 2-4" by tonight, so we'll see. One thing is for certain - BW does NOT want to go out in this to deliver parcels today! (He's worked some long days this week - the volume is WAY up, which is not how it usually is at this time of year!)

    Sorry your rains have melted all your snow! Maybe Gandolf will head your way next and give you some magical snow. :-)

  3. Oh wow - the skies are gorgeous! In both modes - landscape and normal.

  4. ladyfi ~ I thought so too, though I was surprised to see how differently the two settings captured the color and light. I'm enjoying my little experiments with the camera, but I really do need to make myself read the manual. :-)

  5. A beautiful sunrise... and a frightening thought for weather. I interviewed this morning for a job in Oshkosh, WI and when they asked what I felt the biggest challenge would be for me if I took the job, I told them snow. I'm in Florida, where the temperature right now is 73F!

  6. Cindi ~ Wisconsin winters would definitely be a huge change for you - they get more snow than we do, and a humid cold that's so different from our dry one.

    Our predicted snowfall totals have dropped, and I don't even think we'll get the reduced amount. Which is too bad, because we need the moisture. It's been such a dry winter our local greenhouse emailed an alert that we probably need to water our evergreens! And our snow is so dry this time of year, we need lots of it to get much moisture. But it's definitely bitterly cold, very windy, and drear! Good day for cleaning and baking. :-) Bask in those sunny temps for me, and I hope you get the Oshkosh job - if you want it! (It sounds like an adventure!)

  7. You are taking some lovely photos with your canon. I have found lots of good info on using a rebel on some online videos. Blizzards yikes -- haven't been in one since I lived in Michigan. Rather miss them -- mother nature showing her stuff. -- barbara

  8. You guys have the best sunrises — and sunsets.

    Try this: Set your camera to Av. Set the white balance, and try some close up food shots.

  9. Wonderful sunrise, as always! You're so lucky to have such beautiful skies by you.

    I use the Program (P) mode of my camera the most but have been making myself experiment a bit more. There's so much to learn, isn't there?

    It was 45 here today. When we went to bed, we still had a few inches of snow and this morning it was almost all gone! By tomorrow night the temps will be dipping down again, though, and we're due more snow, so we must be getting the hind end of your storm. :)

  10. Beautiful sky pics! They're forecasting snow for us, too, on Sunday, which will be disappointing as some friends and I have set up a vegan knitting group in Edinburgh and I'd hate to miss the inaugural meeting...

    I like to use aperture priority on my camera. That way (as you probably know), you can decide how much depth of field you want, which I like being in charge of. Your automatic settings are serving you well, though!

    Hope you don't end up like Gandalf!


  11. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Thank you so much. I went out just after dawn this morning and took some photos as well. Soft pinks and greys. Galah colours. You so often have very much more dramatic sunrises than we do.
    I would LOVE to exchange your 8 degrees for our current 37.

  12. Wow, wow, beautiful shots!! You're right, I think the landscape setting adds some saturation to enhance colors.

  13. A very beautiful and fiery sunrise.

  14. TexWisGirl ~ Me too, I was surprised the Landscape setting on my camera replaced them with that dark, fiery orange!

    Barbara ~ Thank you! I know, there is no shortage of information and advice in books and online, which is part of the problem. I am overwhelmed and unsure where to begin! I'm going to stick with my books for now, and work my way through them. I expect it will take a while, and I must practice patience (not my strong suit!)

    As long as I don't have to go anywhere, I enjoy them too. Mother Nature was definitely showing her stuff last night - she finally got down to business and started snowing while the wind howled (35mph with 50mph+ gusts( and the temps dropped even further, to 5ºF. I don't even want to know what the wind chill was - I was just glad when BW got home safely, and we were all snugged up indoors! (I hope the wild critters found warm places to be - I always wonder what the poor little birds who stay here all winter do in weather like that? Somehow they manage!)

    Andrea ~ We do get some impressive doozies! And okay - I've seen those buttons on my camera, and as soon as I understand what they mean, I'll try that! :-) (I'll look it up, that'll give me something to grab onto since I feel adrift in this vast sea of camera complexity and information!)

    Molly ~ I know, I'm feeling awfully repetitious with my SkyWatch posts - they're nearly all sunrises! But I can hardly help myself. :-) I think both of my cameras have that "P" mode, but I've never used it. YES, there is so much to learn!! Yikes!

    Our forecast is all over the place, with highs ranging from 11º to 47º over the next week. The dogs don't know whether to shed or get furrier - Josie is hedging her bets and doing both simultaneously! LOL Most of the snow went around us, I guess - headed for the Dakotas, so maybe it'll peter out before it gets to you!

  15. Penny ~ I hope your forecast proves wrong so you're able to safely travel to your inaugural vegan knitting group meeting! How fun! And no, we didn't end up like Gandalf, but we would have had 8' tall drifts if we'd gotten the amount of snow they'd first forecast! Even with the measly inch or two we did get, there are impressive meringue-like drifts that appear a foot high (from the warm vantage point of inside my house looking out the window!) :-)

    When it comes to this camera stuff, we'll all have to assume I know absolutely nothing. That would be the safest bet. :-) It's a shame I can't remember a lot of what I learned as a kid of 10 or so, when my dad gave me his old 35mm camera (and separate, accompanying light-meter). I had to do everything manually and was good at it, but all this automated stuff since has made me lazy and stupid. :-)

    Ellie C ~ As harsh as your weather has been, I'm glad your sunrises are gentle at least. I would think all the smoke from the wildfires raging across Australia would be making for some brilliantly colored (but ominous) skies. I thought about you when I posted this, and thought there ought to be a way to swap some of our cold and your heat till we're both enjoying temps of, oh say 70ºF/21ºC! :-)

    Spare Parts ~ Saturation, is that what it's messing with in the landscape setting? I was surprised it changed the colors so much. But it sure did a pretty job! :-)

  16. Glad to see you're using the camera Laurie - it takes mighty fine pics! You can really see the way it oomphs things up in Landscape mode. I am so jealous of your snow, even if you are up to your wizards in it!!!

  17. Barbara (UK) ~ It does take great pics, I'm very pleased - and look forward to having the time to really "focus" (snork) on learning and using it!

    LOL about being up to our wizards in snow! I'm going to steal that line. We didn't even end up to our ankles in it, but were up to our wizards in wind - which has a nicer ring to it, actually! :-)

  18. Wow, I can't believe different cameras can take such different pictures, I mean that the quality of the photos...who knew? Lovely sunrise.

  19. Rose ~ I know, the Rebel definitely does a better job than the EasyShare - just imagine what it will do when I actually know what I'm doing with it! :-)

    Have you replaced your camera yet?


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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